Bipolar disorder affects about 1 out of every 100 people. Extreme mood shifts characterized by extreme emotional highs and debilitating lows can greatly disrupt the lives of those affected by bipolar disorder. This mental health condition can last days, weeks, or months, hindering your ability to tend to your role in the workplace. As the struggle to maintain a work-life balance becomes increasingly more challenging against a backdrop of traumatizing world events, the number of people affected by mental health issues is only expected to increase.
Qualifying for long-term disability benefits due to bipolar disorder requires strong evidence on behalf of the claimant. Insurance companies will hold the claim under scrutiny during the approval process. Those affected by bipolar disorder need to be able to demonstrate the severity of how having the disorder impairs their ability to work. This post will cover what you should do if you are denied an LTD claim due to bipolar disorder, and how to get your claim approved.
What Does Bipolar Disorder Look Like?
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that has a Jekyll and Hyde effect. Extreme fluctuations in mood seen through crests of mania and hypomania and troughs of depression alternate to create a sea of internal chaos. It is not uncommon for those affected by bipolar disorder to cycle between these mood swings, which can occur quickly and without notice or apparent reason. Noting the differences between mania, hypomania, and depression is essential to building your case to receive LTD benefits for bipolar disorder.
Mania and Hypomania
Both mania and hypomania are characterized by similar symptoms, such as an elevated or euphoric mood. However, hypomania tends to manifest these symptoms in a milder, less noticeable form. A distinguishing factor between these types of episodes is that hypomania may last two or three days at most, while episodes of mania must last a week or longer to be classified as manic. To be diagnosed as manic or hypomanic, an episode must include but is not limited to three or more of the following symptoms:
- Abnormally elevated energy levels
- Irritability and agitation
- Unusual or extreme talkativeness
- Racing thoughts and distractibility
- Taking on excessive projects or activities
- Increased or exaggerated sense of self-confidence
- Decreased inhibitions
- Engaging in risky or impulsive behaviors
Breaks from reality, visual or auditory hallucinations, and delusional or paranoid thoughts are psychotic symptoms that can reveal themselves during manic episodes. Highly functioning people with bipolar disorder may be able to self-regulate the symptoms of their hypomania better than those affected by mania and can suffer in silence. The severity of mania on the other hand can sometimes lead to hospitalization. Regardless, both of these episode types can impede your ability to fulfill job role duties and obligations.
Often labeled as the “invisible” disability, a major depressive episode in bipolar disorder is defined by a distinctive downturn in mood. During a depressive episode, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. Other symptoms of major depression may include:
- Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless
- An inability to experience pleasure
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Difficulty with concentration or focusing
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- An increased or decreased appetite
- Thoughts of suicide or death
What Should You Do to File an LTD Claim Due to Bipolar Disorder?
These are five steps you can take to file an LTD claim regarding work incapacitation due to bipolar disorder:
- Seek treatment. Insurance companies will want to see you have already taken the initiative to resolve the effects of your bipolar disorder by seeking treatment. This can include receiving counseling or taking prescribed medications, such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, antidepressant-antipsychotics, or anti-anxiety medications.
- Follow Recommendations from an Officially Recognized Health Care Professional. Mental illness still often comes with a stigma attached. Because of this, some individuals may not feel comfortable seeking help from a licensed healthcare professional. Some may be cautious when it comes to taking medications due to a fear of side effects. Note that natural remedies are generally not recognized by insurance companies as veritable treatments. Remember, your goal is to generate sufficient evidence for your case. You will need to demonstrate that you have followed a treatment plan prescribed by a bona fide doctor, physician, and sometimes a psychiatrist.
- Provide Sufficient Documented Medical Evidence. Mental illness doesn’t usually come with imaging or diagnostic assessments like in the case of a bodily injury. You’ll want to organize a trail of medical records that support your claim in the form of clinical notes and records from a professional healthcare provider.
- Get an Application from your Employer. Request a long-term disability benefits application from your employer. If you are self-employed you can get the forms from your insurance broker or directly from the insurance company. Usually, you will need to fill out 2-3 forms for your disability program when making a disability claim.
- File Your Claim. Once you’ve completed your application and gathered the supporting documentation, you can file your claim. Note that you, your doctor, and your employer will need to fill out your respective forms as part of the application process. However, it is the claimant’s responsibility to make sure the forms are completed for accuracy. Claim representatives frequently reject or deny applications if the quality of information and documents are poorly provided, no matter how legitimate your disability.
What Should You Do if Your Claim is Denied?
You may seek an appeal if your long-term disability claim is denied. However, this is not considered a legal procedure. Instead, it is a continuation of the same process used to deny your initial claim conducted by your insurance provider. This is why long-term disability claims are often still turned down.
Insurance providers know they can run the clock when it comes to appealing a denied disability claim. Should you choose to proceed with legal recourse, you should also be aware of the two-year timeline set from the date of your initial denial, not the date of your last appeal. The nature of this bureaucratic process makes it even less likely for claimants to receive their LTD benefits.
Having a long-term disability denial lawyer in your court by pursuing a legal course of action is likely to obtain a more favorable outcome for your appeal. By negotiating on your behalf with the insurance company in a court proceeding, they can present evidence that can strengthen your case to receive a fair settlement.
How Can Derek Wilson Help Maximize Your Chances of a Successful Appeal?
It is to your benefit to work with a legal representative who has the inside scoop when it comes to insurance companies. With over a decade of previous employment experience with insurance companies, I have unique insights as to why long-term disability claims are denied. My firm has successfully helped clients resolve numerous claims for long-term disability benefits. I will fight to get you the long-term disability insurance benefits you deserve per your specified policy.
My firm focuses on representing clients with long-term disability claims. Fair and honest legal counsel are the pillars of representation at Derek Wilson. We charge no up-front fees so our clients are not deterred from seeking the legal support they need. Call us at 855-769-0418 or get in touch online to schedule a free consultation.